It has been about a year and a quarter since I last reviewed a project from DaeShawn Forrest. I reviewed his project ‘Keep It Going’ back in October of 2019, and he’s back with his October 2020 release, ‘Transparent.’ I always appreciate artists who circle back for another review from me and I remember enjoying the last DaeShawn project I reviewed, so my expectations are high for this project. Let’s dive in Forrest’s newest album and see what makes him ‘Transparent’ this time around.
The first song is “Amateur” and it starts off on a smooth and silky note. This beat sounds like you are at a beach at night just chilling. This song has no structure, just DaeShawn Forrest hitting us with bars back to back to back. DaeShawn switches up the flow a few times on this track, from slow to fast like the ebb and flow of the tides of the ocean. This is a great way to start off the project. On the second song, Forrest ironically picks up “Steam.” This beat sounds menacing and could have been a banger, but DaeShawn went in the opposite direction with a low tone. His voice didn’t match the energy of the beat but I loved his rhyme schemes, especially on the second verse. I don’t know if I liked his fast flow approach, as this beat sounded like slower tempo raps would have sounded better. Nonetheless, my head was nodding through the entire song. The third song on this project greets the listener with some organ type chords and DaeShawn jumps right into “Consistent.” Forrest talks about his consistent walk with the Lord, and folks shouldn’t expect him to change his ways. I liked his line, “Down here, I pack light.” I loved the strings that came in near the end of the song, those gave it a cinematic feel.
On “Here To Stay” we hear the same message as the previous song, but I might like this song better as it sounds more melancholy. This type of instrumental lends itself to introspection and DaeShawn gave us that on this song. Forrest hits us in the face with his lines, “To keep this light of mine/ I have to battle all the time,” a great way to start off this song. It sounds as if Forrest is tired of fighting but he refuses to “Fold.” Forrest says without God’s mercy on his life he would fold. After the hook we hear 808s drop and Forrest just goes in. This song had a sense of movement to it, it gets light and airy when Forrest delivers his auto-tuned hook, then it quickly fills back up and gets aggressive again when the verses come back. This song was produced by Forrest and birthed out of conflict and that came across perfectly in this song. The sixth song of the album is “Loose Ends” and starts off with a solemn sound. When DaeShawn mentions that he could have had a wake at the age of 17, that hit hard. Forrest speaks about tying up the loose ends of his life, those things that aren’t submitted to God. When you do this you, “Go on and win,” in the words of DaeShawn Forrest.
DaeShawn has a tradition of putting a record on his albums that is a feel good vibe, and on ‘Transparent,’ that record is “Trivial.” This song is a guitar driven lofi beat that gives off island vibes and the singer on the hook is a nice addition. This song sounds like something you can two step to. Forrest made a nice bop about not getting caught up in the trivial thongs of life. Not anything I would have expected, but I can appreciate it. Sonically, this is the most appealing song on the project. DaeShawn is a chip off the “Old Block,” a euphemism similar to “An apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.” This song speaks to the fact that no matter how hard life gets, Forrest won’t ever stray away from the Lord. This is another solid record from Forrest. The next to last song on the project is “Naïve” and was produced by DaeShawn Forrest himself. This is one of Forrest’s favorite songs on the project and he talks about being naïve when he was younger. One of the stand out lines from this song is, “Things you don’t see will shape your life.” This is the stand out track that DaeShawn’s fans have been going crazy over and I can see why. From the beat , to the lyrics, and the overall vibe of the song, this record has the total package. The final song that Forrest leaves us with is “What It Is,” and DaeShawn says a lot as soon as it starts. Those watching Forrest’s life see “What It Is” and he’s not ashamed of his skin. DaeShawn is unapologetic about his faith and his race from the jump. He’s been open about struggling to live a live that honors God, but “What It Is” is his resolution as, “Something’s always stressing me/Won’t let it get the best of me/ cuz God put that breath in me.” No matter what life throws at Forrest, he’s going to stand firm and live for the Lord. This is a great way to end the project.
In conclusion, this is DaeShawn Forrest’s best project to date. He departed from the lofi sound I was familiar with picked and crafted some amazing sounds, but as far he traveled, he still dropped some lofi vibes on the people. I wasn’t quite a fan of all the fast rapping he did on the project, especially on the tracks I believe called for slower flows and cadences. I would also like to see DaeShawn with more featured artists and collaborations. His last EP was five songs and that’s perfect for an artist to carry by themselves, but a full length album is something completely different. Ten songs with just one artist can sound monotonous no matter how much one switches up their approach. Those are my only complaints about this project. DaeShawn opened up about his life and struggles, but ultimately, he points the listener back to his source of strength: God. You can’t help but respect the honesty and transparency of the project. Forrest has an incredible ear for production and I appreciated his lyricism this time around. He made words rhyme that don’t overtly rhyme but it didn’t feel forced. I appreciate when an artist just raps and DaeShawn did that on his “Amateur” song, even though he is no amateur on this project. DaeShawn seems to only get better with each release and I genuinely enjoyed the project. If you want both bars and vibes, then you most definitely need to cop DaeShawn Forrest’s newest album ‘Transparent.’